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Newsom Supports Renaming North Coast's Fort Bragg, Named After Confederate General

FORT BRAGG (CBS SF) – Gov. Gavin Newsom announced his support for a measure renaming the community of Fort Bragg on the Mendocino coast, which was named after a Confederate general.

"This is the right move," Newsom said in a tweet posted Tuesday.

Last week, Mayor Will Lee said the City Council would discuss putting a measure on the November ballot for voters to decide on changing the name. According to a post on the city's Facebook page, the discussion follows "many requests (some local and many not) that the City of Fort Bragg, California change its name to avoid any connotation associated with Confederate Army General Braxton Bragg."

Responding to many requests (some local and many not) that the City of Fort Bragg, California change its name to avoid...

Posted by City of Fort Bragg California on Friday, June 12, 2020

The community was named by Lt. Horatio Gates Gibson after his commanding officer in the Mexican-American War, historian Sylvia Bartley told KPIX 5 in 2017. Bragg never set foot in the town.

Braxton Bragg
Braxton Bragg (Fort Bragg - Mendocino Coast Historical Society)

A slaveholder, Bragg went on to become a general for the Confederacy in the Civil War, suffering a crushing defeat by Union forces led by Ulysses S. Grant in the Battle of Chattanooga in 1863.

The proposal to change Fort Bragg's name comes amid a renewed push to strip honors for historical figures associated with slavery and racism, following the death of George Floyd and nationwide protests against police brutality. Members of the California Legislative Black Caucus urged the community to change its name five years ago.

Similar calls are being made to rename Fort Bragg in North Carolina and several other military bases, along with removing statues honoring those who fought for the Confederacy.

Meanwhile in Sacramento, legislative leaders said a statue of Queen Isabella and Christopher Columbus in the State Capitol rotunda will be removed, over Columbus being a "deeply polarizing historical figure given the deadly impact his arrival in this hemisphere had on indigenous populations."

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